Semrush Review

Here at nichesiteazon, we’re big fans of Semrush.com. Barely a day guys past when I don’t login to the software to find keyword opportunities, track my site rankings, or reverse engineer a competitor. Additionally, Josh has outlined some great strategies you can use semrush for in previous posts. In this semrush review though, we’re going to focus on the basics, and why this software really does pay for itself. If you’re curious to read the other posts, they’re linked here:

First off, I’d like to just say that when I first looked into semrush, I wasn’t making a lot of money online and the monthly fee seemed unecessarily high. This may also be the case with you, and if you can’t afford the tool, then that’s understandable. You can actually use click the banner below to get a free trial of the tool, which should get your love affair with it started, and you can come back later when you have more of a budget.

SEMrush

For the meantime, let’s dive into this review.

How Does Semrush Work? What Is It?

Semrush calls itself a competitor research tool, and it is, but it actually has a lot more practical applications. You might be thinking “Ok cool, but how do I use competitor research to my advantage? And I’ll explain that in the rest of the article.

For now, here’s a quick overview of how you might use Semrush.

The page above is where everything begins. Enter a competitor’s URL above, and you’ll be presented with a list of keywords they rank for, what position they rank, who their competitors are (so you can rinse and repeat), and a lot of other information as well.

You can figure out what their best performing pages are, whether or not they’re buying traffic from Google, and you’ll also get some insights into their backlink profile.

This is a snapshot of the keywords NicheSiteAzon ranks for.

 

A list of sites we share keywords with. This gives us a chanc e to look at what they rank for that we might not have thought of targeting yet. Gold.

Now, semrush definitely doesn’t have the best backlink checker in the world. Ahrefs and Majestic are superior here.

However, that doesn’t really matter, because what I use Semrush for has nothing to do with checking backlinks, as I’ll explain in the next few sections.

For now, just know that Semrush allows you to find out a lot of insanely useful keyword data about your competitors. You’ll uncover a lot of keywords that don’t show up in other keyword tools, and that alone is gold. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is, Semrush also works great if you put your own site into the tool. You’ll find a bunch of hidden keywords you didn’t know you rank for. You’ll find untapped opportunities, and you’ll get good ideas about which posts to target for on-page and off-page seo improvements.

Thanks to this, the money you spend on Semrush could end up saving you money on link building, so ultimately, you come out ahead.

Practical Uses For Semrush

For the next part of this review, I’ll look at practical applications of semrush. In other words, how do I use it, and how can you use it to benefit your site?

There are 4 main ways that you'll benefit from this tool:

    1. Use it to find keywords you've not optimized for, that you can easily rank for.
    2. Use it to highlight which posts you should link build to first.
    3. Use it to reverse engineer your competitors and get new keyword ideas
    4. Use it to find "weak" keywords that forums are ranking for.

Let’s go through these one by one.

Using Semrush To Find ‘Quick Win’ Keywords To Target

This is one of the easiest ways to benefit from Semrush.

I’ll tell you this now. If you’ve never checked, there are no doubt dozens of keywords that your site ranks for, that you had no clue about.

On top of that, many of these keywords will be ones you’ve not optimized your site for. 

I’ll give you an example:

Let’s say you are targeting a certain keyword with your post, like “best shower head”. Once that post ranks quite highly, you’ll naturally rank for other keywords as well, such as “best plastic shower head” or “good shower nozzle” and so on. It just happens. 

Put any post into semrush and you’ll see it ranks for dozens of keywords.

What also happens is that some of those keywords you will rank quite highly. Position 12 or something like that.

For many of these keywords, you won’t even have that keyword anywhere on your page. This is because Google knows your article covers that topic. It knows that an article about shower heads is also going to be relevant to searches about shower nozzles, for example.

What I find is that 90% of the time, if you go back to that article and add the keyword in somewhere, within a week or so (depending on your site’s age and authority), you will jump up in ranking for that keyword.

You can rinse and repeat this so many times and increase rankings and traffic without adding more posts. The more rankings your site has, the more you can do this technique.

Here are three examples of keywords where I did the exact method talked about. I started tracking them in Serpfox the day I did the optimizations, so you can see the results almost instantly.

Example 1: 

Example 2:

Example 3:

Now, it doesn’t always work. Some keywords won’t budge even if you add them to your post. It doesn’t take much work to do this though, and the fact that some keywords will have a major increase should make it very much worth your while to do.

You can rinse and repeat this technique every few weeks as well, because as you rank higher for these keywords, there will be other ones appearing.

This alone could pay for semrush in no time, assuming you have your traffic monetized.

Using Semrush To Choose Link Building Targets

Whether you’re doing white-hat link building, or something more grey-hat, you don’t have infinite time or money. You’ll want to make sure you’re able to get the most results out of your efforts, or money.

Semrush can help with this (although Ahrefs might be better if this is your only focus, as ahrefs has superior backlink crawlers).

How I use it is as follows:

1.) I put my site my site into Semrush and see what it shows me for keywords and rankings. 

2.) I then look at “pages” and see which pages have a lot of rankings and keywords “nearly” on page 1. For example, you might think you want to do your link building to your main money page, but Semrush might show you that another post is actually much closer. It could already have 1 or 2 keywords on page 1 or at the top of page 2.

For me, this would go straight on the list of potential link building targets. I’d do further analysis into the competition before deciding 100% to target this post, but Semrush is responsible for putting it on my radar.

It’s all too easy for us to get blinkered vision and just focus on 1 or 2 posts, without realizing we could get some other posts earning money in the meantime, just by giving them a bit of link juice.

Using Semrush To Mimic Competitor Rankings

I use the word competitor lightly, because a lot of other sites in your niche might not really represent pure competition. What Semrush defines as your competition is a site you share other keywords with.

For example, perhaps your site ranks for 200 keywords, and another site ranks for 2,000, but 150 of them are the same ones you rank for. They’d show up as a competitor, right here:

Now, what we have above is a list of 302 organic competitors. Here’s how we use it:

1.) Starting with the competitors that share the most common keywords (in this case, nichehacks), we could click on them, and then get a list of all the keywords they rank for.

2.) By manually going through the list, we’re going to get dozens of ideas for keywords we hadn’t thought of targeting. Some of them will be “quick win” keywords that we can add into our existing articles to increase the keywords they rank for. Others will give us entire new article ideas.

Just because a competitor ranks for a keyword, doesn’t mean we are automatically going to rank for it too just because we wrote an article. However, it’s great for finding new content gaps and opportunities. 

3.) For further wins, look for keywords where your competitor ranks for them, but the article they are ranking isn’t all that relevant. For example, maybe a competitor ranks highly for something like “roll on vs aerosol deodorant”, but the article ranking is not that related to the keyword. It could be something like, “best roll on deodorant”.

The fact they’re ranking highly for it without really targeting it or writing something useful, shows an opportunity. You can write an article that targets the keyword more accurately, and you’ll have a pretty good chance of ranking well for it.

Not every competitor will have keywords like this, but if you spend enough time, you’ll be able to find some.

4.) Additionally, you can look at the competitors for one of your specific posts and see if you’ve missed any keywords. Let’s say you have a post on page 1 of Google and it ranks for 20 different keywords. Maybe the other sites on rank 1 with you are ranking for 30 or 40 keywords with the same posts. 

If you go through each one of those posts and see what they’re ranking for that you’ve missed, and then go back and add them to your post, you’ll not fail to increase your traffic to that post, and might even rank a bit higher as a result.

This is similar to the “quick win” opportunities mentioned above.

Use It To Find “Weak” Forum Keywords

It’s well documented that when you find a keyword where 1 or more forums are ranking, that keyword should be easy to rank for. The problem is, how do you find keywords where forums are ranking?

Simple.

You find some forums, you enter their URL’s into Semrush, and you use a filter to find all the keywords they rank on page 1 for.

To make it even better, filter it to only show the ones they rank in the top 3 for.

I’ve used this to find dozens of keywords in almost every niche I’ve entered, and at least 30% of them I ranked for very quickly.

Josh is the man behind this strategy, which I’ve linked to right at the start of this article. If you want to know more about it, you can follow this link as well.

Semrush Pricing – Is It Worth It?

I’ve just shown you an almost infinite number of ways to use Semrush. Ok, only 4 ways, but they’ll keep you busy for what seems like an eternity.

The question is, does it pay for itself, and how much is that exactly?

The snapshot above shows the three pricing tiers available. To learn more about exactly what comes with the plans, go here. You can also get a 7 day free trial through that link.

Anyway, let’s talk numbers.

$99 per month is no small fee, and the average beginner niche site builder may not be able to afford it. 

That’s fine, because if you are a complete beginner and don’t have the budget yet, you also don’t need to get semrush yet. It’s not something you can really benefit from until you either have a number of sites and regularly use this tool…or until one of your sites starts getting itself some rankings.

In my case, I signed up for a free trial once my site started making $100 per month, and I had scaled that to $500 per month within 3-4 short months. Semrush played a large part in that.

Essentially, you need to be earning some money and getting some rankings and traffic in order to really benefit from it (though you will still benefit in an earlier stage if you can afford it now). 

Once you use it though, it pays for itself quite quickly.

If you’re able to increase the number of keywords you rank for, increase the positions they rank at, and get new content ideas all with one tool, you’ll definitely increase your revenue beyond $99 per month.

Only you can say if you have the budget for it. I will say that you don’t absolutely 100% need Semrush in order to succeed, but if you can afford it, you will absolutely benefit.

If I Could Only Use One Tool

I would probably struggle with only using one tool! However, if I did only have access to one…Semrush would definitely be a contender for that tool.

It depends, does WordPress count?

All joking aside, it’s for good reason that I use this tool almost every day, and if you can afford it, you’ll love it.

Remember, you can click the banner below to get a 7-day free trial.

SEMrush

5

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 2 – Getting Started

Hey guys! It's been a week since I posted the first part of this case study and it was really nice to see your comments encouraging me. 

Let's have a quick recap of what I wanted to accomplish in this week, what I've actually done, problem's I've encountered, the real amount of hours and the $ cost to execute. I'll probably follow this format for the next updates aswell. Tell me in the comments if you like it? 😀

​Week 1 Summary

  • Create Social Fortress and IFTTT - Check
  • Get blog comments done - Check (50 total)
  • Get Local Citations - Check (20 total)
  • Get Press Release - Check
  • Find 20 KGR keywords - Check

Time is Money is Time is Money is...

But you know that already.  Time is money.  And money can buy time (some one else's, of course). I've put a total of 3.75h during week one .

Here's what each thing has costed so far:

  • Local Citations: $25 (PBNbutler)
  • Blog comments: $6 (Fiverr guy)
  • Press Release: $55 (PBNbutler)

What I didn't know about KGR keywords...

 I probably spent 80% of the time finding KGR keywords. I'm not counting the time spent watching Doug's youtube videos about it or thinking how to streamline the process so it isn't super-manual (because time)

Have you ever had an epiphany while sitting on the toilet? I've had a few.  Here's one:

Click the button below to download a spreadsheet with my latest toilet idea

The spreadsheet consist on a list of keywords (that you must populate yourself but we'll see how in a second) on column A, a combined allintitle: query URL on column B, Column C is the allintitle results, D is the SV and E will spit a value. Green is KGR, orange is good but not idea, red is a no.

Plug a keyword, copy the result in column B, open the url in a new tab, check results.​

Here's a replay of one webinar from Doug Cunnington explaining the KGR in better detail.

The best piece of information there is to use the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere and to use google's suggestion at the bottom of the results page to get new ideas. 

You can click on those keywords and get even more ideas, which is what ultimately has helped me get my KGR keywords.

The problem however, is that it was damn hard to find 20.  I think there's actually quite a lot of competitors because the overall topic (not the niche product) is about weight (fitness) and that space is crazy competitive.

So even if I could find some good KGR keywords around the niche product, once I run out of "easy wins" i started thinking outside of the box and going for related topics that could end up on me recommending the product, but the space is brutal.

I mean, it's a massive pie to split though. One of the big three (Health & Fitness, Make money, Relationships & Dating). So, for as long as I'm able to claim a very little chunk of that pie, I'll still be making money and I'm cool with that.

You can use Keyword Shitter combined with Keywords Everywhere and the spreadsheet I shared above to find your KGR keywords.

Citations: doing it right.

​The idea behind using Local Citations comes from this post.

Essentially, they build trust, provide with good link velocity and branded anchors. They have 2 problems.

1. Indexing.

2. Need some initial setup to be useful.

Indexation is solved via the video sitemap trick (hats off to Matt for sharing so much knowledge) and​ the initial setup goes as following:

Find a commercial building that's unclaimed (alas, no other business is registered there) in any random city you like inside your target country as described it Matt's post (in my case US). Get the address and use a fake phone generator​ to get a phone number. T

Then, plug that data into Local Business Schema Generator and you'll get a chunk of HTML code that basically shows that data in a structured fashion google can easily read.

Go to widgets, footer, place an HTML item there and paste the schema markup for NAP there.

Add the same NAP info in all your social profiles.  

That's all the initial setup you need for the citations to work. It took me roughly 20 minutes of work and 10 minutes of figuring it out (never used schema before) so I just saved you 10 minutes. Use them wisely for another purposes of your liking. Kitten vids, for instance.

Alright, I think that covers everything I've done this week, including challenges and discoveries!

Next week I'll order content for the KGR articles and place the initial PBN links. I'm already considering 4-5 different link providers, but I'd love to hear suggestions from you guys!

10

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 1 – Strategy

In this first part, I'm going to cover the strategy I'm going to follow to grow my niche site to $500/mo in 6 months. I may then sell the site and use the funds to create a larger site, provided that I'd by then have acquired all necessary skills to successfully grow a website. 

But today I'm starting small.

I'll try to leverage a background of getting other people to do stuff for me so I don't have to, thousands of hours playing Civilization by Sid Meier (it teaches you a lot about strategy) and a strong skillset on figuring s**t out very quickly.

Also, I've spent close to one year reading about niche sites and SEO (partially forced to because of my day job and clients who like to play smart, but that's a story for another day) so I should be able to make it work.

Alright, let's get into details.

Introducing my niche site

The site is based on a particular product inside the health and nutrition supplements industry. I don't know a lot about the niche to be honest so no content writing for me.

The name I chose for it allows some room for growth outside that particular niche (It's a partial match domain or PMD). It isn't a super competitive term but it's definitely grown harder since I bought the site (I did some KWfinder checks back then and I was like, oh nice, easy to rank baby! But not anymore. It was close to 20 and now more into 30s) 

I see the opportunity window is closing so better move quick.​

From now on and for the simplicity of arguments, I'll be referring to the site as MMG and I may eventually reveal the URL once I have some traction and I'm happy with the way it's going etc .

I've seen other case studies where people reveal the URL early, and it isn't always the best idea.​

Why am I actually doing this?

I'm no stranger to the sunk cost fallacy. Now, the $500 that I paid for the site isn't that much of a big deal. Sure thing, throwing that amount through the window does hurt a little but I'm not taking back the site 6 months after I totally forgot about its existence because of sunk cost.

It's a matter of making things right.

I told myself I'd create a separate side income to be able to travel more often. Two weeks per year seems a bit insufficient. A few hundred a month, saved, allows for some really cool travelling. Even weekend getaways would get so much more interesting. 

So this case study is all about accountability, and forcing myself to keep working.​

First Sale!​

Two days ago, after I officially published the intro post saying that I was going to make the site work, something great happened...

Aw yeah, passive income baby:

I guess this is as passive as it gets. As I explained before, I bought this site from HPD and then did nothing with it, and it managed to get its first sale.

To illustrate further how little I have done to the site, I had to dig into some discarded notebooks (aye, I'm old skool) to find my wordpress password because I hadn't logged in since March .

Now, $2.92 won't fund a lot of travels to the Seychelles, but hell yeah, it was just what I needed to truly believe this site has potential.

Alright so, appetizers were good, let's go to the meat: what's the plan?

The 6 month strategy to $500/month

When I bought the site, my idea was to execute Matt Diggity's reduce sandbox strategy, but since the site has aged a bit, I'll be doing those steps a bit faster (to get some momentum).

Then, I'll also be publishing KGR content. One of the things I did last month was joining Dom's forum to follow  his case study (which honestly did motivate me a bit more to take action on the site) and I really like the concept.

Credits: Doug Cunnington from Niche Site Project

AAAAnd I'll be using PBNs. I understand the risks, I also understand what no-nos are, and I'm confident I'll be able to do it good enough not to get bitch slapped by Google.

My tolerance to risk is moderately high, and considering that I'll be keeping the overall cost below $2,000, this is still a EV+ operation. ​

Think about it.​ Potentially selling a site for $10,000 or more in less than 6 months with $2,000 investment and minimal time investment vs eventually getting slapped and "losing" $2,000 (which I wouldn't really, as there are ways to recover from a penalty. I may not have ever done it but I've read a lot!)

So, let's see a proper breakdown of the strategy:

Week 1

  • I'll create what Matt calls 'Social Fortress'. Alas, profiles for the site on every main social network. I'll include a bit of filler content and NAP. I'll add the NAP to the MMG contact page aswell.
  • I'll get some local citations done from PBNbutler (US) to increase trust and local relevance.
  • I'll also get a Press Release (not sure on which service I will use, I accept suggestions down on the comments!) with all naked and branded anchors pointing to the homepage.
  • I'll do keyword research until I find 20 KGR keywords. This is the only part I'll be doing myself (besides creating profiles, but I'll get someone else to fill them with info. My 12 y/o cousin. Someone from Fiverr. My cat, someone but not me)
  • I'll get someone to build some blog comment links to the homepage, something like 20-30 (Author Name anchor). Open to suggestions too. 

The idea here is to stablish the basic company profile. Creating a heavily branded profile with the basic trust signals in place, so that when I start with the other not-so-safe-links there's enough trust on the site. We'll see if it works.

Week 2

  • Once the Press Release has been syndicated, I'll get some social signals (homepage)
  • I'll get some PBN links spread throughout the site. It currenty has 8,000 words. Homepage targets the main "best product" keyword, then 5 reviews and 3 info articles. I'll probably buy 10 links, 2 to homepage, 1 to the other pages and use very long tail or partial match keywords for the anchors. Keep my sins small. This may take up to 2 weeks from the few sellers i've been checking.
  • I'll order articles for all 20 KGR keywords. I'm considering human proof's service as the original content for the site was quite decent, but i'm open for suggestions.(leave them on the comments please!) I do NOT have the time to try/hire writers myself. Nor I'm interested on managing them.
  • I'll be doing more keyword research to find 5 more "product review" keywords inside my niche with decent search volume (50 or more). 

Week 3

  • I'll be doing research for a good topic for an infographic, decide and place an order with some graphic designer. If my GD friend is too busy with his regular work, I'll get someone from Upwork. I reckon 10 days TAT.
  • I'll buy some expired 2.0s. 
  • I'll place orders for the product review articles.

Week 4

  • I'll order an article on a very sciency and specific topic that affects consumers on my niche. I'll later use that article for outreach and to send some more spammy links (like the ones from the tumblrs and such). 
  • I should by now be getting my KGR content back so I'll be formatting and publishing it. Nothing fancy, few boxes, few images, hell, you've seen how non-fancy this very article is. 
  • PBN links should be placed at some point this week. I'll get another batch of social signals pointing to the targeted pages once that happens.

Week 5

  • Infographic should be back so I'll publish and start doing infographic submissions and image links (I mean I'll get someone to do it).
  • I'll get a data entry guy from Fiverr to collect email addresses from blogs inside the industry so that I can do outreach.
  • Extra review articles should be back so I'll format and publish.
  • I'll place some 2.0 links to product review posts.

Week 6

  • Sciency article should be back so I would then publish and create some wikipedia links (small edit and then add as a source. Apparently no SEO value per se but increases trust. I want some of that)
  • I'll send emails to that list of blogs pitching the infographic. I've read Gmass is quite good.

Week 7

  • It should be around 2-3 weeks since the initial PBN links were placed, so I'll do a check on rankings, movements etc to assess where I'm at.
  • I'll do keyword research until I find 2-3 more "best blahblah" keywords that have decent search volume and aren't too competitive (so, 700+ searches and below 20KC on KWfinder, not too many big guys on first page, etc). 

Week 8

  • I'll order articles for those Best Product keywords.
  • I'll do KGR keyword research to find at least 10 keywords that I could use to support each one of those articles.
  • I'll order some more PBN links (spread out between homepage and internal pages) another 10 or so links. Good links are expensive apparently.

Week 9

  • I'll order KGR articles to support the new pillar articles.
  • I'll do keyword research to find 5 good products with search volume on each category. (Product Review keywords)

Weeks 10, 11 and 12

During the third month I won't be doing much but monitoring, re-assessing and likely catching up with delayed steps from previous weeks. It all sounds great on paper but the task breakdown that I've projected may actually take me more than 4 hours of work for each week so I'll be delaying the least important stuff and catching up on the last 3 weeks of September.

Week 13 

  • I'll create an scholarship page, some email templates and get someone from Fiverr to collect email from Universities.

Week 14

  • I'll send emails to those universities to get .edu links.

Week 15 onwards.

From the second half of October onwards I plan on keep growing the site via KGR content, money pages  (best blahblah keywords) and product reviews. I'll probably use weeks 10-12 to further plan what to do in terms of social promotion (probably use Pinterest or Instagram), maybe create another infographic if the results with the first one were good... essentially see what's been working well so far and do more from that and stop doing what's not working. 

MMG: Current State of Affairs.

Here's a snapshot of the keywords I'm targeting and the rankings. I'll try to post this at the end of every report so we can have an overall look of the fluctuations etc.​

MMG has a total of 10 posts published. Here's the traffic for June:

Let's see how those numbers improve during the next weeks!

Alright folks, that's been it for today. You now know my plan, maybe see its flaws (if you do leave a comment!!) maybe think is absolutely genious (lol). In any case, I'll be doing quick weekly updates of the progress I do with just 4 hours of work on an outsourced site from ​Human Proof Designs

A True 4HWW Case Study: Growing a Niche Site to $10,000

Today I want to introduce you to a long time NicheSiteAzon reader, Daniel, who bought a site from Human Proof Designs after we had a chat about my success with niche sites and how well I think he would do in this business.

​Daniel told me that he wants to document his journey growing a site but doesn't have a blog. Since we don't blog that much lately (as you have probably seen!), I thought I'd give him free range to share his experience here and do a little case study on niche sites and marketing in general.

I'm still involved with NSA in the background, but as I have mentioned in the past, I am not going to be doing much of the blogging myself anymore. 


Ok, over to Daniel!

Hey guys, this is Daniel (although everybody calls me Dan), and I got introduced to the world of niche sites by Mike. 

In this series of blog posts I'm going to cover the journey of my first site from $0 to $500/mo and the goal is to reach there by December this year. ​

Now, let me give you a little bit of background before we jump into this journal or like the industry calls them, Case Study (Boom! look at me, already talking like a pro)

From "Maybe" to "Let's do it"

Last year one of the clients I work with on my 9 to 5 (yes, I have a full time job at a Media company) wanted to move into Facebook ads so I went full-on into that and obviously did a lot of research about niche sites, which lead me to finding NicheSiteAzon and a bunch of other great blogs (I've linked some of them below). I started getting interested in niche sites as a side project.

Fast forward to December last year and everybody was talking on how much freaking money they were making with the holiday season and I was a bit like, dude, I want to get that aswell. 

I was reading every single blog. Every one. EVERY ONE. Tung Tran, Empire Flippers, Spencer Haws, Neil Patel, Dom Wells, Matt Diggity, Authority Hacker...  but finally something clicked in my head and I decided to take action (after maybe, 6 months? of just reading) and I bought a site from Dom. 

Some embarrasing reality.

So I get the training, nice and cool, watch the videos, gather a few ideas on how to grow the site, a few weeks later I get the website from Dom and then...

I went on a two week holiday to Thailand that put me completely off-track and I did nothing with my little side hustle. Nothing at all.

That was last February.

I'm sure there are plenty of others in this world who started a site and then forgot about it. If this is you, then I've got the perfect case study for you.

Last week I had a look at the site. It's actually quite nice.

Ok this time for good

Look at this:

Without realizing, the site was slowly ranking for some keywords and getting a few visits every day.

So I technically bought myself an aged site haha.

Now, you know I have a full time job. I intend to dedicate no more than 4-5 hours of work per week to this site and my goal is to have it make $500 during December. 

Will I be able to make it? Let's find out. During this weekend I'll be getting the basics ready and I'll be putting the months and months of reading other case studies to practice and get an strategy plan for the next 6 months together. 

Next Monday (10th) I'll be posting my plan and a few stats on the site so we all know where I'm starting from, where I want to be, and how the hell I plan to make it.

Stay tuned!

Results From 10 Rank Guardian Customers

Now that we’ve been up and running for a few months with Rank Guardian, there are quite a few customers who have come through the doors.

We’ve been tracking all of their rankings (it’s part of what we offer), and today I wanted to share screenshots from 10 of those customers.

To protect the customer and their site we are of course hiding the actual keywords that they rank for, but these screenshots should still serve as useful proof that our links are working.

Not only that, it helps you understand the kind of timeframes we are dealing with. Not every site experiences results in the same period of time, and sometimes it takes Google longer to find the links, but if you check out the 10 screenshots below, you’ll notice some clear patterns:

  • It usually takes about a week for the links to start kicking in
  • Once the links get indexed, there’s a decent jump in rankings
  • As more links get found, rankings often continue to slowly climb.

Some of the screenshots below are for a customer who bought multiple Rank Guardian packages, but most of them are from just one package only.

Site 1

Keyword: [product] reviews

Search Volume: 2,900

Ranking Boost: From pos 25 to pos 9 in around 6 weeks.

ss1shrunk

Site 2

Keyword: [product] reviews

SV: 2,400

Boost: 31 to 17 in 4 weeks.

ss2

Site 3

Keyword: City + service

SV: 720

Boost: From 4 to 1 in 1 week.

ss3

Site 4

Keyword: City + service

SV: 1,300

Boost: 7 to 2 in 3 weeks.

ss4

Site 5

Keyword: Best [product]

SV: 1,600

Boost: Pos 20 to 11 in 3-4 weeks

ss5

Site 6

Keyword: Best [product]

SV: 590

Boost: 18 to 10 in 4 weeks.

ss6

 

Site 7

Keyword: Best [product]

SV: 6,600

Boost: 16 to 5 in 4 weeks.

ss7

Site 8

Keyword: Best [Product]

SV:1,900

Boost: 21 to 8 in 3 weeks.

ss8

Site 9

Keyword: [product] reviews

SV: 1,300

Boost: 67 to 21 in 2 weeks

ss9

Site 10

Keyword: [product name] review

SV: 880

Boost: 18 to 8 in 3 weeks

ss10

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty clear to see the patterns in the above screenshots, which I will reiterate now.

Links usually take 3-4 weeks to get results, but in some cases can have an effect faster. One thing we’ve noticed since Penguin 4 went live though is that links are taking a little bit longer to work. Now it might be 4-6 weeks before you really start to see a boost.

Most of these results were achieved with just 1 link package, so getting to the top 3 positions is likely doable with 2-3 orders. There is always more resistance and slower movement once you get closer to the top.

Finally, what you CAN’T see from these screenshots is that all of these sites were well optimized and primed to jump up the SERPS. Some sites won’t budge, and that’s because there is an issue with the site itself. No amount of links can fix bad on page SEO or poorly optimized keywords.

This is why a big part of what we do before taking your order is to analyze your site and the competition, and give you our thoughts on the number of links that you might need. Additionally, if we think you need to work on the on-site SEO first, we will definitely advise you of this.

It could just be a case of adding more words, using the keywords slightly better, or it might be a whole mess of things you need to fix. We can’t say for sure until we know what we are working with.

As you can see though, we are pretty good at getting results!

If you want similar results, or you want to learn more about what we do, then check out our Rank Guardian service here.

Rank Guardian Mini Case Study

There has been a ton of interest in our new Rank Guardian service since we launched it back in August. Unlike a lot of other similar SEO link building services we’re providing both some on-page guidance to help you choose the best keywords to target and also figuring out the optimal link strategy to get the keywords ranking well.

We’re getting a lot of questions from people about which package they should sign up for and I thought it would be helpful to do a mini case study on one my own sites that used the exact same links as what we provide with Rank Guardian. This way you can gauge for yourself which package would be a good fit for your own site.

Background Info

For obvious reasons I won’t be sharing the exact URL of the site. However, I can tell you it’s a small niche site with just about 25 posts (started with 10 posts and added in 15 posts over the span of few months in late 2015). I originally built the site in the summer of 2014 and meant to try and rank it then, but got distracted with a lot of other projects and other niche sites I was working on. So the site mostly sat around until earlier this year when I finally had a chance to focus a little on it.

Now in the interest of full disclosure I had done a little link building in late 2015 and early 2016 before I started using Rank Guardian style links on the site. I used a Hoth “platinum package” and about 15 PBN links from my own network to target about 5 separate pages on the site. However, I specifically had not targeted the page that I focused on later with the Rank Guardian links.

Rankings

Unfortunately I wasn’t planning on using the site for a case study so I don’t have the best rankings data to share. I use Serplab.co.uk to track most of my rankings and while it’s a fantastic free ranking tool that I highly recommend, it only tracks 30 days of data unless you pay $5/month, which I wasn’t doing until recently. Here are the rankings in Serplab for the keywords I was targeting for this case study.

rg-12

I luckily did have a couple of the main keywords in Serpfox which is another good rank tracker to use, but you have to pay for it based on how many keywords you track. Keyword #1 has an estimated monthly search volume of 5,400/month according to Serpfox and when I first started targeting it in late March it was fluctuating between the high teens and the low 20s. It’s currently ranking #2.

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Keyword #2 has an estimated search volume of 4,400/month and it was in the low 20s in late March and now ranks #1.rg-1

Here you can see the SEMRush report that shows the number of keywords the site ranks for in the top 100 (3.5k). SEMRush also shows the estimated traffic for the site as well which loosely corresponds to the real traffic it’s getting.

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Traffic

While I don’t have the best rank tracking data available I do have very useful traffic analytics to show. Below you can see the traffic quickly increase for the entire site since I started tracking it in Clicky ( Clicky is a great analytics tool that I prefer over Google Analytics, but you unfortunately have to pay for it). It steadily climbed from around 50 visits a day for the site to around 400-500 visits.

rg-6

As I mentioned above, I was focusing on one specific page with all the links I was doing and in the screenshot below you can see the traffic for both that specific page and the entire site (dark blue line = site’s traffic and light blue line = specific page).

rg-7

As you can see, the page I was targeting went from pretty much no traffic at all in mid-April to over 200 unique visits a day by July.

What’s really interesting is that the traffic for the entire site went up across the board despite the fact I was only targeting one page with all the links. This is almost certainly because of the inner linking I have done on the site (i.e. I have internal links on the targeted page to several other key pages on my site that I want to rank well).

Link Strategy

The point of this whole mini case study is to give you an example of what to expect with Rank Guardian so below I’m going to list exactly what I did to get the site ranking so well.

In total I added in 3 sets of links over about 4 months targeting the one specific page I was trying to rank

  • Mid-April – Added in a “Results” (15 links) $399 package
  • Mid-May – Added in a “Results” (15 links) $399 package
  • Early-July – Added in a “Basic” (10 links) $299 package

So with 40 links and what would cost $1,097 with Rank Guardian I went from around 50/visits a day to well over 400/day on most days, including 200/day on my targeted page.

Below is an outline of when the links got added in and how the traffic improved after each set of links. Note that for the early July links most of the keywords were already ranking pretty well so I was really trying to bump the last ones in the 3-5 range up to #1 or #2.

rg-8

Earnings

As you can see by targeting just one page with about 40 Rank Guardian links the site’s rankings and traffic have jumped considerably over the past 6 months. Traffic and rankings are great to monitor to see progress, however, what really matters is whether the site is really earning any money. Well I’m happy to report the site has continued to improve and in August (the latest full month I have stats for) the site shipped 177 items and earned over $400.

rg-9

I’m very pleased with how this site has done both in terms of the traffic/rankings and earnings. My plan now is to target two new pages I had made for the site and try and get them ranking well within the next 2-3 months. I think I can continue to bump the earnings of this site up and hopefully reach $1,000 month in the next 3-6 months.

Penguin 4.0

Since Penguin 4.0 launched a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be useful to give a quick update on the status of the site. I’m happy to report that this site (and all of my sites actually) have so far not seen any negative impact from the new penguin. In fact traffic for the site has actually jumped over the past few days as you can see below.

rg-14

It’s too early to speculate on what might happen in the future, but right now I’m very optimistic about this site and its longevity. Of course no artificial link building is completely risk free, but with Rank Guardian we make the links look very natural and use a lot of diversification. This will very likely help sites continue to rank well while avoiding the potential negative consequences from appearing to have too many unnatural links.

Wrap Up

To recap this mini case study:

  • Started trying to rank a specific page and set of keywords in mid-April
  • Created 40 links in total over the span of about 4 months (would cost $1,097 using Rank Guardian)
  • Traffic jumped from about 50 visits a day to 400-500 visits
  • Rankings for the keywords I targeted jumped from the 20s to either #1 or #2
  • Rankings for the site rapidly climbed from around 500 in the top 100 to about 9,000 in the top 100
  • The site earned around $400 last month and I expect it to do well, especially during the Christmas holiday season
  • My new plan is to target 2 new pages and get them ranking well and have the site earn $1,000/month within 3-6 months

I know there is a lot of confusion over links and when to expect results, so hopefully this mini case study gives you a better idea of what to expect when using Rank Guardian (or any link building service).  If you have any questions leave a comment below.

2

The Real Cost of Setting Up Your Own PBN

pbn cost

Private Blog Networks, or PBNs, have been all the rage in the SEO community for the past few years. The accolades are not without warrant.

As far as ranking websites, backlinks work. And, as anyone who has done outreach knows, asking others for links is a long and often fruitless endeavor. Instead, having links on demand seriously reduces the time burden of building the links your websites need to rank well in the SERPs.

How to Build Powerful Backlinks Without Outreach

Update: As of August 2016, I now offer my own link building service, Rank Guardian. The results have been fantastic, and I'd love to help you rank your site too.

Outreach and guest posting work, but they take serious commitment. If you have the time and resources to spend 40 hours or more a week, or to hire someone to spend that time fishing for links, then you can see serious results from this type of link building.

But, if you’re looking for a better ROI and much more scalable link building method, you basically have two options:

1.) Build your own PBN

2.) Buy links from a third party

Both strategies can yield some stunning results, but before you make a choice of which is right for you, it’s important to break down the costs associated with both options.

The Cost of Building Your Own PBN

Setting up and running your own private blog network can result in fantastic ranking improvements for your websites. But, a PBN is not something you throw a few dollars into to get started and set it up over night.

There are two basic expense categories to consider while planning out your PBN if you decide to build one: infrastructure and maintenance. 

Infrastructure can be further broken down into –

  • Domains
  • Hosting
  • Content

Whereas maintenance refers to –

  • Setup
  • General upkeep
  • Unanticipated upkeep

To get started on putting a real dollar amount in getting a PBN setup, built out, and maintained we can take a look at each of those above categories independently. 

We are also going to work under the assumption you’re planning on starting out with a relatively small 10 site PBN.

Domains – You can’t have a PBN without domains. The important part of these domains is that they are expired with some nice links already aimed their way.

There are a few ways to get these types of domains, such as buying them from auctions, buying them from brokers, or scraping them with tools, with each of these methods carrying different costs. The strength of the domain also affects the pricing.

The cheapest method mentioned above would be scraping for domains your self, if you don’t include the time you put in to doing so, which should not be ignored as scraping can take days, especially if you’re not experienced with it.

Brokers can get pricey, and auctions even pricier if you’re aiming for some real premium domains.

Since most people reading this want to rank websites to make money and not become a professional web scraper, we’ll work under the assumption you’ll buy expired domains from a respectable and not overly expensive broker.

The quick and easy way of doing so is to just use a broker that orders packages like those you can find here from Pure Quality Domains. Their cheapest 10-site package runs $250.  You could try to scrape for those domains, but as stated before, the time and tools needed to do so would most likely end up costing you more than the $250.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $250

You then also need to register the domains. There are various places to do so such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Hover, and they all charge different amounts. However, it’s best practice to not register all of your PBN domains with the same registrar, so a fair average cost of registration per domain is around $10, or $100 for all 10 for each year your own them. (fake whois)

Total cost for your PBN so far: $350

Hosting – Now that you have some great domains you need to set them up on hosting. Several years ago using cheap $1/month hosting was cat’s pajamas. That was until lots of people using cheap $1/month hosting had their PBNs de-indexed.

There are plenty of theories why that happened ranging from Google targeting specific cheap hosting resellers to just the fact that bargain hosting usually results in horrific site performance, which can get you de-indexed too. Regardless of why it happened, it still happened.

So, best practice now is to use more common web hosting solutions, like Bluehost, HostGator, and A Small Orange. And like with your domain registration, you won’t want to use the same hosting for each domain, and you want different IPs for each domain too.

You can get some small or baby plans from the hosting solutions for around $4/month give or take, so the sake of simplicity, we’ll say properly hosting your 10-site PBN will run about $40/month, or $480 for the year.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $830

Content – You can’t have a PBN without adding content to your new sites. Again, you can try doing this all yourself, which a lot of invested time and usually leads to total burnout, or you can pay for content.

When paying for content you’re going to need to decide on what quality you’re aiming for. The cost of writers from tier 1 English speaking countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, etc. is going to be significantly higher than the cost of using Filipino writers. Since you aren’t trying to really win readers over or sell them anything from your PBN, most opt for the latter.

There are plenty of writing services out there like HireWriters and iWriter. Using iWriter as an example, the cheapest 500-word article would run $3. Making the assumption that your 10-site PBN would link out to 10 money sites, you would need 100 articles, not including any supporting pages you add like an About page. The total cost of the content would be $300. Again, this does not take into account any other posts or pages you add to the PBN sites, but for simplicities sake, this estimate will do.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $1130

Content isn’t just articles. You’ll also need your PBN sites to look like real sites to minimize the chances of them getting de-indexed. That’s why most people add customs logos to each site.

You don’t need award-winning logos, so a basic Fiverr style logo should do, but you need to include the cost. Fiverr now adds on a processing fee per order, so one logo will run you $5.50, making the total for the 10 you need $55.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $1185

Setup – Websites don’t build themselves so after you have your domains, hosting, and content, you need to put them all together. Without getting into the some of the trickier stuff you need to do when managing a rather large PBN, even the basic setup can take some time.

For example, here are some of the tasks that need to be done:

  • Connecting your domains to the hosting
  • Installing WordPress or whatever CMS you choose to use
  • Choosing a theme
  • Adding a logo
  • Installing and setting up plugins
  • Setting up your menu
  • Adding your content
  • Formatting your content
  • Adding images

To make these websites look like real sites and not part of a blog network you need to spend a little time on all the above.

Depending on your experience with setting up sites and how much editing the cheap content you bought requires determines how much time each site would take to setup, but for the sake of putting a dollar figure into this process, let’s say you’re fairly quick at setting up each site, averaging 2 hours per site. That would be a total of 20 hours of setup time.

How much money are those 20 hours worth? Again, this is a bit of an arbitrary number, but by taking an annual salary of $45,000 a year, your hourly pay rate would be around $21.60. So, using that pay rate your setup time would be the equivalent of about $432.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $1617

General Upkeep – While you can set and forget your blogs on your PBN, it’s not really a great idea to do so. Firstly, failing to update plugins is one of the biggest ways to get your sites hacked. Second, stale sites tend to lose their ranking power.

Even by doing the bare minimum and spending two hours a month on upkeep at the same hourly rate listed before, a year would run around $518.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $2135

Unanticipated Upkeep – It’s an annoying but unavoidable fact that when working with websites, things break. It doesn’t happen all the time, but perhaps a hosting server crashes and you lose all the data for one PBN site, or there’s a problem with the billing on another.

Dealing with this kind of thing takes time, and any time you spend fixing the problems is time you aren’t spending working on your money sites or other parts of your business.

Assuming you only have a couple medium-sized hiccups during your first year, we can estimate in 10 hours of time at out previously determined hourly rate. That would add another $216 to your costs.

Total cost for your PBN so far: $2351

In Summary

Setting up a PBN, even a smaller 10-site one, is not the quickest or cheapest way to help push your money site up the SERPs, but it’s certainly an effective one. The fairly low-cost example we set up above would give you approximately a total of 100 links spread out to 10 sites for $2351. That equates to $23.51 a link for the first year. The, there’s recurring annual costs of maintaining those sites and links of  $1314 for the domain renewals, hosting, and general & unanticipated upkeep.

It’s important to remember that this estimated cost-per-link is basically a best-case scenario where you’re maximizing the value of each PBN site and getting 10 outbound links per site. That means you also need to fund 10 money sites.

If you only have 5 money sites the cost-per-link would actually jump up to around $44, and if you are only running 3 money sites it jumps even higher to around a whopping $71 per link. The reasoning behind this is that regardless of whether your PBN is supporting 1 money site or 10 money sites, you still need the domains, hosting, logos, setup, and maintenance. The only expense you would save on is the content.

And, all of this math assumes you don’t have any of your PBN sites de-indexed.

So, can you build your own PBN to help rank you money sites? Absolutely. However, unless you have a suite of money sites, you usually get much more bang for you buck when you purchase backlinks from a third party. Aside from the money you’ll save, you’ll have much more time to spend on building your websites and your business instead of messing around with setting up and maintaining a private blog network.

Also, you should really check out Rank Guardian, our new ranking service.

1

How to Buy a Profitable Website & Increase Its Value

The following is a post from Greg of EmpireFlippers. While I’ve talked in the past about brand new sites, EmpireFlippers are the experts when it comes to investing in sites that are already profitable or established.

buying-profitable-website

Purchasing a website can be a big shortcut.

It cuts out a lot of the legwork that a niche site builder has to do. Instead of doing a bunch of keyword research, ordering content, and buying a good domain in the hopes of making money, you can jump right ahead to the making money part. When you buy a website, you already have profit coming in; so instead of guessing what will make money, you are in a position to optimize a website so it earns even more money.

Before you go out there thinking that you should just buy any website and start optimizing it, it is important to slow down and ask yourself what kind of skills you already have.

Here are some common skill sets that profitable niche site builders have:

  • Writing great high quality content
  • Researching keywords effectively
  • Understanding both Grey Hat SEO (such as Private Blog Networks or PBNs) and White Hat SEO (such as guest posting)
  • Employing Paid Traffic (typically on just one ad network, such as Google Adwords or Facebook’s advertising platform)
  • Outsourcing effectively

Now, you might be just starting out, with none of these skills at your disposal. That is okay. You can still purchase a website and learn these skills.

If you are new and want to “shortcut” the process by buying a website that is already profitable, you will want to play it a little safer. For example, a website that depends on paid traffic will probably have a steeper learning curve than a content site reaping the rewards of free organic search engine traffic.

Regardless of your skills, the best time to see if a website can be improved is before you buy the actual website. This is the due diligence phase, and it is extremely important.

There are always low hanging fruit that don’t take much skill at all to change or to improve, and then there are the more advanced strategies.

We are going to cover a bit of both here, so you get a good idea of how to start looking at potential websites to purchase.

The Low-Hanging Fruit

Google Speed Test

The speed test is a fantastic first place to start when researching a potential website purchase. Most people in the SEO community realize the importance of site speed. The faster your site loads, the better experience it provides for the end user, and the more likely Google is to rank you over the competition.

It is a very simple test to use, and you know it is official because it is a speed test actually designed by Google itself — you get the information you need right from the horse’s mouth.

All you have to do is enter the domain of the website you want to test. I’m going to put in Empire Flippers and see how we do:

google speed test

Hit the blue “ANALYZE” button and we are off to the races…

speed-test-result

As you can see, we have some low hanging fruit ourselves in terms of speed, that we need to work on.

The greatest thing about this test is that it gives you both the mobile version and the desktop version for your website. Considering that right around 60% of internet surfers today are on mobile, it is incredibly important that your website is optimized for smartphones. As times move on, this will become even more important, as mobile traffic continues to overtake desktop traffic.

The other thing that makes deficiencies in speed so easy to fix is that the test literally tells what you need to fix to obtain a score of 100.

You can either learn how to fix it on your own through some clever Google searching, or just go to Upwork and pay someone $50-100 bucks to do it for you.

Most of these fixes are pretty simple to implement, and they can be an incredibly effective method of raising your rank in the organic search for your keywords.

Split Testing Affiliate Products

Split testing is a fundamental skill when it comes to increasing revenue. To do a split test, you test one aspect of your website or marketing funnel to see if the test converts people visiting your site into leads (i.e. potential customers) or paying customers at a higher rate than the control.

When it comes to split testing, the control is the way the website is already set up. The actual test is the variant from the way you already have things set up (the control) to see if it will work better.

You might have an Amazon affiliate article talking about dealing with beard itch, and while the article is a generally informative article, you include a link to a product on Amazon that is supposed to help with beard itch.

In this case, there is probably more than one product on Amazon related to this problem. So why not test more than one at once?

You can use a link rotator service such as Click Meter (which starts with a free plan) or one of the many link rotators that are out there on the internet.

Link rotators are exactly what they sound like.

If you have 1,000 searches a month coming towards that article, and 500 of the 1,000 visitors click on the link, the link rotator can send 50% of the traffic to the control Amazon product (the one that was originally linked to in the article) and 50% to the test Amazon product (the similar product that solves the same problem, but was not originally featured on the article).

At the end of the month, you can look in your Amazon back office and see which one sold more. You could get even more in-depth here by adding in two unique Amazon tracking links, which would show you not only which product was bought more, but also which person bought the most from Amazon during that 24 hour cookie window.

Amazon is just one place where you can do this kind of split test.

If you use any kind of Cost Per Action (CPA) offer from one of the many networks that are featured over on OfferVault.com, you can use this method to split test between offers, as well as to split test the exact same offer featured on several affiliate networks.

When you do, send 50% of the traffic to one network and 50% to the other network. The reason why two affiliate networks offering the exact same product might convert at such drastically different rates, is because there is more going on in the actual sales process than just the offer itself.

Every network has their own loading speeds, sales funnels, payment processing carts, and dozens of other moving parts that could seriously affect your conversions.

That is why testing, as always, is paramount.

Split Testing Ad Placements

If you are running an Adsense site or a similar monetization strategy, there are a few things you can do. First off, it could be worthwhile replacing Adsense with another display ad network such as Media.net.

Usually Adsense is going to outperform Media.net, but this is not always the case. Also, it is often effective to use both Media.net and Adsense in conjunction with each other.

Outside of split testing different content display networks, you should also be testing where your actual ads are placed on your website.

I am not going to go into too much detail here, as NicheSiteAzon has got you covered on this topic with their blog post concerning Adsense.

As their blog post lays out, you can dramatically grow your net income just by split testing. Split testing is not terribly difficult to do, and it can dramatically increase your monthly net profit.

The skills you will learn from training yourself in split testing will also aid you later on, should you ever decide to explore creating your own products or building sites that direct visitors to higher ticket items.

Ask for a Pay Raise

This is probably one of the simplest methods that affiliates who invest heavily in paid traffic use to increase their profit margins. Most website owners, bloggers, and SEOs never really think about doing this, though.

After all, margins from free traffic are always pretty high, and most of us rely on drawing free organic traffic to our websites.

While this will not work for Adsense and Amazon sites, it does work when you are using a smaller affiliate company or even an affiliate network that utilizes Affiliate Managers (AMs).

When you find yourself converting your traffic on a consistent basis, with little refunds and few complaints about the quality of your traffic from the AM, you’re in a good bargaining position.

Just reach out to your AM and ask them upfront if you can get a pay bump on the offer you are converting on.

While we can’t scale traffic as easily with organic traffic as we do with paid traffic, this is such an easy thing to do. For less than thirty minutes of your time, you can bring in some extra cash flow, with no real work needed on your part.

The Not-So-Low-Hanging Fruit

Now that all the easy stuff is out of the way, there are other things we can do to grow our site’s income into a total profit juggernaut.

None of these are exactly easy, and not all of them will work for every website. When you are doing your research on a potential site purchase, keep these ideas in mind. If you find the right site to implement them on, some of these tips could improve your revenue dramatically.

These tips will likely require you to learn new skills, but hey, that’s the reason why these aren’t low hanging fruit!

New Revenue Streams

When purchasing a website, consider whether or not there is any room to add a new kind of revenue stream to the website that could earn it even more money.

There are quite a few options available to you:

  • Creating a product (it could be just an info product that solves a problem people have in the niche).
  • Promoting items that are relevant to the site’s niche. (What items relevant to the main core niche of the website are not being promoted or reviewed to the website’s audience? This could both expand revenue and create some new high-quality content for your website.)
  • Drop shipping certain items that you are currently selling as an affiliate.
  • Evolving an Amazon affiliate site into an Amazon FBA website.

One of my favorites on this list is taking an Amazon affiliate site and evolving it into an Amazon FBA site.

Amazon FBA businesses ship products directly from the manufacturer to one of Amazon’s warehouses. The FBA stands for Fulfilled by Amazon, which means Amazon literally holds your merchandise, processes it, and ships it whenever someone buys it from your Amazon listing.

Some of the really great things about this kind of evolution:

  • You still get to keep affiliate sales, as you just change your affiliate link to point to your Amazon FBA listing.
  • Your profits will go up because now you are collecting a larger profit margin on each sale.
  • Your market research is already done, as you have data in Amazon’s backoffice from affiliate sales that people are buying this type of product from you, before you invest any money into purchasing your own product.
  • You can rank your Amazon FBA listing in the search engines much more easily than your website article since Amazon’s domain authority is so strong.

From Niche to Authority Site

If the website you are looking at is in a broader niche and doesn’t have a domain name like BestBlendersforVegans2016.com, then the website could be a prospect to become an authority site. For those who are unaware of what an authority site is, it is a much larger website than most niche sites and covers broader subjects, rather than, for example, the best blenders for vegans in 2016, which is a pretty specific niche.

Unlike most niche sites, authority sites are not exactly a passive endeavor. You will need to add content on a consistent basis, and you will also need to make sure the content is high quality.

There can be no cutting corners here, as the real product of the authority site is the content.

An authority site wants its visitors to come back again and again to review the content.

If you are willing to put in the work, an authority site can become a huge income-producing machine. They are able to expand outside of just a single traffic channel as well.

Instead of relying just on Google organic search traffic, these kinds of websites might be utilizing Facebook ads, Twitter sponsored tweets, or a huge Instagram following as their main sources of traffic.

Likewise, the potential to add new revenue streams is often much higher than it is with a niche site.

This is especially true if you are going to expand your site by promoting your own product. Since you are an authority, people respect you in the niche. Therefore, when you come out with your own product, you will have an audience that is primed to buy your product.

If you really want to grow an authority site, you will need to develop a good content team.

You could do it all yourself, but unless you are very passionate about the niche, I would not advise this. Creating content will take up most of your time, and it is difficult to have several different projects going at once if you are handling everything on the authority site.

Besides, if you end up selling the website later, it is better to have a team in place that can go with the sale — or at least some knowledgeable people who can create good written explanations of the site’s standard operating procedures, so that new hires can follow and learn.

Email List Building

An email list is not a viable solution for all websites.

Yet it constantly surprises me that despite every internet marketer with a marketing blog preaching that the money is in the list, some affiliates never build an email list for any of their niche sites.

As with taking a niche site to an authority site, there are only a few instances where you will want to add an email list.

This is not a quick win either. Depending on the site, you might have to wait a few months to see if the email list can really move the needle for your website. There is a lot that goes into building a successful email list, including split testing things such as:

  • Email subject lines
  • The message in the actual email
  • The offers you send in the emails
  • The time of day when you send the emails to get the most open rates

However, there is a lot of potential when it comes to building an email list.

For an Amazon site, you could be emailing out consumer guides, cheat sheets, and more in order to bring people back to your website.

With an Adsense site, for instance, you could be sending out a weekly content wrap up of interesting articles that would bring that audience back to the Adsense site.

When you start selling higher ticket items or information products and services, having an email list just makes sense. You are able to build on that sales funnel, sharing case studies, testimonials, and more sales copy.

While building an email list is not easy, it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor and will increase a website’s income.
Paid Traffic

Another advanced strategy to increase revenue is using paid traffic. As we have already mentioned, most websites simply rely on organic traffic. Organic traffic is mostly visitors who find your site through a Google search.

Paid traffic can speed up the process and scale up your entire operation in a hurry. Paid traffic comes from visitors who have clicked on a linked ad which you have paid to post on another site, such as Facebook.

One of the cool things about purchasing a proven money-making website is that you already know the website is converting traffic into customers.

Now you just need to find out what your average profit margins are per customer, and drive traffic to those pages that are proven to convert customers.

As long as your paid traffic advertising expenses are lower than your profit margin, you will be able to scale up your traffic source. Since paid traffic can scale very easily just by increasing your daily ad budget, even a small profit margin can become a lucrative win.

While there are several different ad networks out there, my personal favorite is Facebook advertising for a couple of reasons:

  • They are incredibly targeted and can grow my organic social reach at the same time.
  • The social traffic will help me get ranked on Google for all my site’s other pages as well.

I’m also a huge fan of AdEspresso.

If you decide to dive into paid traffic and you want to take advantage of everything that Facebook advertising offers, I highly recommend split testing and running all your campaigns through AdEspresso to help you optimize your campaigns fast.

New Organic Traffic Channel

Creating a new organic traffic channel is similar to building an email list. This might be one of the hardest of the “not so low hanging” fruits to implement.

Nevertheless, it can increase your bottom line significantly and open the doors to a whole new audience that you would never have had access to otherwise. Once it’s set up, the kind of traffic created by this system will start coming in more or less automatically.

If you are unfamiliar with what an organic traffic channel is, it is basically what NicheSiteAzon is teaching all the time. While NicheSiteAzon focuses on Google organic traffic, there are other organic channels available where traffic can start coming in regardless of what you do once it is set up.

This is usually done through social media and search engines. While social media at first is not a passive channel, it is still organic in the sense that when done right it does not cost any money to bring that traffic in.

Some social channels below can become very passive (such as Pinterest & Youtube).

It is not easy — you will have to learn new skills — but these are good skills to have to diversify your traffic and increase the actual revenue of the website.

There are a few places to grow these new channels; here are some of the most common:

  • A Facebook Page
  • Twitter
  • Youtube – this one is especially lucrative because in addition to being social media, you can rank on Google with your videos while simultaneously ranking on Youtube’s search engine, which is the second largest search engine in the world.

Is Your Niche Visual? Try These Channels:

  • Pinterest – a site that’s especially great for targeting women, as women tend to use Pinterest more often. Over time, interest can become a nice source of a swathe of free traffic, even if you are not posting as often or stop posting altogether.
  • Instagram – you can create a big following here very fast, though it can be difficult to track since you cannot create many clickable links.

While growing a new channel of traffic comes with a learning curve, there are a lot of benefits. For one, if you want to sell the website at a profit, having diversified traffic will definitely add value to your website.

Relying on one traffic method can be pretty perilous. When a potential buyer sees that you have multiple sources of healthy traffic coming in, your site will become much more desirable.

The Waiting Game

After you have implemented all of the strategies discussed above, there is not much left to do other than play the waiting game.

Even if traffic and revenue doubled in the first month from applying all these changes, you still want to wait right around the three month mark at the very least, before selling the website for a higher multiple.

This is because your sales multiple is based off the average monthly net profit that the website makes. The longer you can show the increased earnings, the better your average profit will be, and the larger your multiple will be when you go to list the website for sale.

While the Waiting Game is playing out, there are a few things you can do to prepare for flipping the site:

  • Track ALL expenses.
  • Look for areas where you can automate the business.
  • Cut back your personal workload, and remove yourself as a bottleneck for growth.

Finally, after all of your hard work, you will be ready to flip this site for a serious increase in cash.

Say you bought the website initially for $20k, and the website was roughly making $1,000 in net profit per month. If in a year, the website is making $3k a month before you list it, that website will sell for right around $60,000.

After broker fees (15% at Empire Flippers), this means you make $31,000 in net profit for the year.

That doesn’t even include all the extra monthly net profit earned via your improvements to the website.

If you become a master of tweaking websites for both the low-hanging fruit and the not-so-low-hanging fruit, you can create an incredibly viable business just by buying and flipping site after site.

Unlike real estate, stocks, or almost any other investment class out there, nothing can return such crazy ROI like buying and selling websites.

If this post has you fired up, feel free to check out our marketplace to see our current listings of profitable websites for sale.

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The Tools I Use Everyday to Build and Grow my Niche Sites

There are tools that I use every single day to help me both build and grow all of my websites. In today’s post I will be highlighting each one of these tools and I will be explaining how I use them.

It is hard enough to build up a successful niche site but, these tools will make it easier to find success and then maintain it. Below are my favorite tools but, I realize that there are unlimited amount of tools out there and I would love to hear from you what your favorite tools are, let me know in the comment section once you finish reading.

Let’s get into it!

Semrush

This is hands down my favorite tool.

Semrush Dashboard

semrush

This is the Swiss army knife for keyword research and I can’t imagine having the success that I have had with niche sites without this tool. This is probably pretty clear considering my last two posts here at NSA have both included the use of Semrush.

How I Use this Tool

There are so many uses for this tool and even more that I haven’t even utilized yet, however, below are some of my favorite ways to use Semrush. You can also read our semrush review here.

1. Track Keyword Rankings

Semrush has many uses but, the main way that I use this tool is to track all of my keyword rankings for each one of my sites. It makes it very easy to see the keywords that have improved, declined and the new keywords that your site is ranking for.

It has a huge database of keywords that it tracks and it makes it very easy to see what keywords your site is ranking for. Every day I plug in my site and check to see what new keywords the site is ranking for.

semrush-kw-track

Under the “Position Changes” section of Semrush, which can be seen in the image above, you can see that I can check the new, lost, improved or declined keywords. This is the best way to track the health of your site in terms of keywords.

2. Website Due Diligence

Whenever I am looking at a possible new site purchase, whether it be from Flippa, FE International or Empire Flippers, I will ALWAYS plug the site into Semrush. This allows me to verify the organic traffic as well as see what keywords are driving the most traffic to the site.

Verify Traffic and Ranking Keywords

duedili-semrush

I also like to take a look at the pages that are driving the most traffic when I am thinking about purchasing a potential site. If one page is driving 99% of the traffic that could possibly be a red flag and this is good info to know about a site. Semrush allows you to quickly find this info by going to the “Pages” section.

Below is a screenshot of the “Pages” section for a site that is currently for sale on Flippa:

Most Popular Pages

semrush-pages

It would be good to know that three pages get the bulk of the organic traffic for this site. Semrush makes it very easy to know this data.

3. Keyword Research

Like I mentioned before, my last two posts here at NSA have been some keyword research strategies that use Semrush and you can check those out here and here.

However, there are other ways to do keyword research with Semrush and that is what I will quickly show you now.

What I like to do is plugin my own site into Semrush and then go to the “Competitors” section:

comp-semrush

Once you go to that section you will a full list of other website that are ranking for similar keywords as your own site. This is AWESOME data to work with. Below you can see the list of sites that are similar:

comps-semrush

Next, I like to dig deeper into each one of these sites with Semrush and see what keywords they are ranking for that I am currently not. There is a very good chance that you will find some keywords that are related to your site but you have not targeted yet. This is one of my favorite ways to do keyword research.

This is a perfect strategy to implement on a custom niche site that you can buy right here from NSA. I would buy one of these sites and then find all of the related sites and find the keywords that you could try ranking for. This would be the very first thing I would do!

If you want to check out pre-built niche sites that are ready to start earning check them out here!

Conclusion

I love Semrush because there are so many uses for this tool. It can do just about anything that you want in terms of keyword research and it does it well. If there was one tool that I would suggest that you have as a niche site builder it would be Semrush. It is a little more on the expensive side at $70/month but, I think it is well worth that money.

You can learn more about Semrush here.

KWfinder.com

This is a newer keyword research tool but, I love it.

KWfinder Dashboard

kwfinder

Matter in fact, I like KWfinder better than Long Tail Pro because it is faster and is overall a better tool in my opinion. I also decided to make the switch from LTP to KWF because it is a tool that is 100% in the cloud, meaning that you don’t have to download the program on your computer and instead you can access the tool in your internet browser.

KWfinder is also the perfect tool to compliment Semrush because it does a great job at showing how competitive each keyword is, which Semrush does not do.

How I Use this Tool

There are two scenarios when I use this tool extensively, one being when I am looking to write new content for my sites and the other being when I am starting a new niche site. Both of these scenarios require me to research how hard it will be to rank for certain keywords and this tool is very good at doing this.

I have outlined both scenarios below:

1. Finding New Keywords for my Sites

One of my favorite ways to use this tool is to load it up with potential keywords that I could target on one of my established websites with new content. I like to see which keywords have a low amount of competition that will allow for me to get easy rankings.

The way I like to go about this is to take all of the possible keywords that I found from Semrush (#3 on the list above) and plug them all into KWfinder.

I will compile a list of possible keywords from Semrush and then I will import them all into KWfinder’s bulk import tool, see below:

kwfinder-import

Click on “Import to kwfinder” and then it will run all of the keywords, you will then see the screen below:

kwfinder-dash

The green numbers on the right are the difficulty rankings and they show you how hard it will be to rank for that keyword in Google. This page also shows you the search trends over a 12 month period, the top 10 sites ranking for that keyword and the stats for those sites.

Just from this screenshot above, we can see that the keyword “49cc scooter” is only a 19 difficulty which means it could possibly be a keyword I could target. I will run down this whole list and take a look at each keyword.

2. Find Keywords for a New Site

Before I start a new site I will always run the main keywords that I want to target through KWfinder to make sure that I can rank for them in Google. The difficulty ranking that KWfinder uses is, in my opinion, more accurate of the true competition that Long Tail Pro.

Here are some rough guidelines when it comes to using their difficulty rankings:

KW Difficulty Explained

0 – 10: VERY easy to rank for, go for it!

11 – 20: Easy to rank for and it won’t require much to rank for these keywords

21 – 30: Fairly easy but, it will take some time and some links to rank for these keywords

31 – 40: I am weary of these keywords and don’t usually like to target keywords much higher

41+: I stay away from these keywords because it will require a good chunk of time/links to rank

Ideally, I like to have the bulk of my keywords that I am targeting to be under 20 KW difficulty. If that is the case then I will move forward with writing content hat will target these keywords.

Conclusion

KWfinder is a fairly new tool out there but, it is already one of the best keyword research tools out there. I mainly use it for it’s keyword difficulty because it allows me to quickly check how hard it is to rank for a keyword.

The combo of Semrush + KWfinder is a lethal combo when it comes to finding keywords to target with your niche sites.

If you want to check out KWfinder you can do so here.

Majestic

This is my go-to tool when it comes to link building opportunities.

Majestic Dashboard

majestic

How I Use this Tool

I have a couple different uses for Majestic and I will outline them below so you can get a feel for how I use Majestic.

1. New Links

Every few days I will throw each one of my sites into Majestic and check the new links that they may have gained during that time period. Majestic makes this super easy because they have a “New” section that display all of your recently gained links:

new-mj

Check out the recent links that Niche Site Azon has gotten:

recent-links

We can see that Doug from Niche Site Project has recently linked to NSA and I would not have known about this unless I used Majestic. This is super helpful because now I can go over to that post where NSA was mentioned and interact with the readers in the comments section and answer any questions people may have.

This same thing goes for all links for everyone one of my sites.

I also like to check to see if Majestic has picked up any new links that I have built or had built for me, such as PBN links or guest post links.

2. Due Diligence for Website Purchases

Just like I do with Semrush, I check every single site that I am thinking about buying in Majestic. This is to make sure that the site doesn’t have any questionable links that could lead to a Google penalty in the future and to just make sure the site is safe.

I also like to see what kind of ranking potential the site has before I buy it. For example, if the site has a trust flow of 40 and citation flow of 40 then I know that I will be able to rank for more competitive terms in the future.

The anchor text ratio is something that I like to look at as well. I like to see the anchor text be natural with not many repeating terms. The more diversified the anchor text the better. Majestic has a whole section dedicated to the anchor text, see below:

anchor-text

Overall, Majestic provides a ton of vital info that anyone should know before purchasing a website.

Conclusion

I would recommend having access to at least some sort of link discovery tool such as Ahrefs, Moz Explorer or Majestic. I prefer Majestic because I found to be the most accurate as well as the fastest to find new links. I also think that the trust flow metric is the best way to measure the credibility of a website.

If you are interested in checking out Majestic you can do so here!

Some of my Other Favorite Tools

The three tools I just talked about Semrush, KW Finder and Majestic are the ones that I use every single day no matter what is going on with my sites. However, with that being said there are some other tools that I use frequently but not on a daily basis. I want to include these tools within this article but, I will not be explaining much about them.

  1. Google Analytics – The best way to keep track of all of my website’s traffic
  2. SERP Book – Online keyword tracker
  3. Google Keyword Planner – The classic keyword research tool that is still useful
  4. AmpedSense – The BEST way to optimize your Adsense ads
  5. Pretty Link – Link cloaker and tracker that I use on all of my sites
  6. Google Search Console – An underrated tool that is awesome for optimizing your site’s SERP positions

Wrapping Things Up

These are the tools that I use day in and day out. They have helped me build up multiple 5 figure niche websites and I continue to use these tools. If you want I can go more in depth with each tool and show you exactly how I use these tools in more detail. If you want to see this let me know!

Thanks for reading.

What are your 3 favorite tools are for building and growing niche sites? Let me know in the comments below!

3

How I was able to Increase my Adsense Earnings by 74% in 2 Months

When people think of “niche websites” most people think of websites that are monetized by the Amazon Affiliate Program but, today I will be talking about an Adsense site that I own and how I was able to dramatically increase the earnings. Even if you don’t use Adsense to monetize your site this article might get you thinking about giving it a try.

For those of you that do have an Adsense site, you will really enjoy this article and I am confident that you will be able to increase your earnings with the help of this article. Without further ado, let’s get right into the article!

Background Info

This Adsense site is one that I bought a around 7 months ago as an investment for my parents. I am not going to go into all of the details behind this website investment but, if you want to learn more you can read my case study here – www.passionintopaychecks.com/website-investing-experiment

This website was primarily monetized by Adsense and one of the first things I did when I bought this website was try to optimize the Adsense ad placements. The first couple of months I was able to increase the earnings per month but, I was using 3 different plugins to manage all of the ads. I also was also not able to properly optimize the ads for mobile users, which accounted for around half of the site’s traffic.

So even though I was able to slightly increase the earnings I knew that there had to be a better solution to what I needed. That is when Shane, the owner of AmpedSense, reached out to me telling me about his plugin that would solve all of my current gripes I had with optimizing my Adsense ads.

AmpedSense

AmpedSense is by far the best plugin on the market when it comes to optimizing your Adsense ads and best part, it’s free to use! There is an option to upgrade to a paid version but, you don’t need to do that when you are just getting started.

There were a couple features that initially intrigued me about this plugin. I will explain each one below:

The Ability to Test Different Ad Layouts

This was huge for me and I couldn’t find another plugin that could help me do this. This plugin allows me to test completely different ad layouts called “recipes”.

This means that I can run two different ad recipes at the same time and compare the results to see which one is performing the best.

For example, take a look at two different ad recipes I ran on my site below:

Ad Recipe #1

ad-recipe-1

Ad Recipe #2

ad-recipe-2

Both of these ad layouts are different from each other and I can run them for a period of time and then clearly see which is performing better. AmpedSense makes it very easy to compare the different ad recipes also, check out what it looks like when looking at the different ad recipes:

ad-recipe-example

Above you can see two different ad layouts that I have been running since Match 24th. One is clearly performing better than the other and I will probably stop the under preforming one here soon. AmpedSense shows all of the important metrics such as the clicks, CTR, RPM and earnings for each recipe.

Bottom line, this plugin makes it a breeze to test and compare different ad layouts which is surprisingly difficult to do with any other plugin.

Display Different Ads Based on Visitor Device

Like I mentioned earlier, around 50% of the site’s visitors were on mobile phones and I wanted to show these people ads that were optimized for mobile devices.

AmpedSense made that very easy to do because you can create ad recipes specifically for mobile devices. This was a major reason for me being able to increase the site’s earnings.

You can also display different ad recipes based on whether the visitor visits a page vs. a post. This doesn’t affect me because 99% of my site are posts but, it could help people that have both pages and posts on their site.

Test Different Ad Colors

Not only can you test different ad placements but, you can also test ads with different colors to see which one is best. I saw a large increase in ad revenue when I changed the ad colors to match my site’s colors.

match-colors

Check out the image above, I was able to dramatically increase both the CTR and RPM when I switched to ads that matched my site’s colors. I also did the same thing for ads that are shown for mobile visitors, check out the results from that below:

mobile-match-colors

Once again a huge boost in CTR and RPM just by changing the color of my ads. The layout was exactly the same and the only thing that was different was the color of the ads.

Now that you understand what AmpedSense is and what it can do, let’s know take a look at the type of gains I was able to see from implementing these changes.

Results from Using AmpedSense

I have been using AmpedSense for just under 2 months now so we are going to compare the 2 months since I started using it vs. the 2 months before I started using AmpedSense.

Stats from the 2 Months BEFORE Using AS

2monthsbefore

As you can see. the stats themselves aren’t too bad but I knew they could be optimized more. Now, let’s take a look at the stats since I started using AmpedSense:

Stats from the 2 Months AFTER Using AS

after2months

A huge increase across the board.

Don’t just look at the total earnings because that doesn’t tell the whole story because the earnings will increase if the page views increase. However, no matter how many page views you get the Page RPM, click through rate and Impression RPM will always be a great way to judge the how well the ads are doing.

Let’s compare the two months below:

growth

All of the important metrics increased by double digits. The most important growth came in the click through rate, it went from 0.24% up to .40%. This is HUGE because the higher the CTR the more people click on your ads and as you know, you get paid when people click on your ads.

So the boost in the CTR was the major driver for the increase in earnings.

You Should Always be Testing

Even though I have seen some nice improvements so far I know that I can get even better results. I will keep testing different ad recipes and finding the ones that perform better than the others. The plan is to always be testing two different recipes at the same time.

Even if you think you have fully maxed out the earnings for your Adsense site, there is a VERY good chance that you can increase the earnings more. You just have to keep testing and that is why AmpedSense is the best plugin for optimizing your Adsense ads.

Like I said in the beginning of the article, most of you reading this probably only have Amazon Affiliate site’s but I would suggest giving Adsense a test on your site and see if you can get an increase in your earnings. There is a good chance that you could add a couple hundred dollars to your earnings each month just by throwing a couple of ads on your site.

So that is going to wrap up this article, I hope you enjoyed! For all of you that have Adsense sites you will find this plugin absolutely vital going forward, just as I have. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

Also read: http://www.shashankgupta.net/how-to-earn-24-lac-in-a-year-from-google-adsense/

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